End of life vehicle recycling law now in force

January 17, 2007 at 9:49 am

New EU legislation came into force at the beginning of the year to improve the recycling of old vehicles. The End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) directive (2000/53/EC) applies to cars, vans and some three wheeled vehicles, and means that drivers in the EU can now have their old vehicles disposed of for free. Similar legislation already exists for cars built since 2002, but from the start of January all cars can now be returned to their car maker for free recycling.

At the moment about 2 million vehicles are scrapped each year in the UK, and the ELVs directive means that car manufacturers are now responsible for recycling old vehicles. Previously, vehicle owners had to pay scrap merchants to dispose of their cars which meant that cars were often abandoned to avoid these scrapping costs. Now that old vehicles can be disposed of for free fewer and fewer vehicles are likely to be abandoned on the side of the road.

The aim of the directive is not only to improve the recycling rates of old cars, but also to limit the quantity of hazardous materials used in the manufacture of vehicles. By making car producers responsible for recycling old vehicles it is in their own interest to use and develop materials that can be easily recycled of reused. The hope is that over 80% of every old vehicle in the EU will soon be re-cycled or re-used to meet new recycling targets.

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Recycle your Christmas cards

January 17, 2007 at 5:50 am

The decorations have been taken down, the fridge is empty at last, you’ve exchanged your unwanted presents and hopefully taken all those empty bottles to the bottle bank. But what do you do with all those Christmas cards? Surely all that pretty, but short lived paper and card doesn’t have to completely go to waste.

With over 1 billion cards sent, read and enjoyed over the festive period in the UK it is important that once taken off the walls and mantlepeice they are not just thrown away with the household rubbish. Schemes like the Woodland Trust’s have been set up so that all this excess paper and card can be put to good use. You can take your Christmas cards to any mainland WHSmith store, TESCO supermarket (including selected Express stores) and TK Maxx stores, pop them in the bins provided and the cards will then be collected and taken paper mills where they are recycled into new paper products. The scheme runs from 2nd to 31st January

This is easy enough for individuals to do whilst out doing the shopping and if you would like to drop off cards from a school or a business, just call the store before to ensure that they can manage a bulk delivery.

So start 2007 as you mean to go on, recycle those unwanted Christmas cards and continue your recycling resolution throughout the year

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WEEE – the new EU recycling law and what it means

January 11, 2007 at 12:00 pm

Another EU recycling law came into force in January 2007, this time allowing consumers to recycle all their old electronic and electrical equipment for free. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE ) law was adopted by the UK on 1 January, and will become fully effective in July 2007. The WEEE ensures that consumers can return all their old electrical equipment to the manufacturer who is responsible for recycling or reusing it in an environmental friendly way.

The WEEE directive was initially agreed by European countries in 2003, and up until now it had been adopted by all EU states apart from the UK and Malta. The WEEE was originally intended to be adopted by the UK in August 2005, but its introduction was delayed several times by the Department of Trade and Industry.

WEEE could mean that the cost of electrical goods increases as manufactures try to reclaim the price of recycling from the consumer. Research by the Analyst group Gartner suggests that the average cost of a PC could increase by around €60 or £33 (see However, recycling should be seen as a last resort as electrical goods, such as old PCs, can be reused by charities, schools and in the developing world.

Full adoption of the WEEE is becoming increasing important because electrical waste is now the fastest growing type of rubbish within the EU. Consumption of electrical goods is greater than ever as people try to keep up to date with the latest technological developments, and discarded electronic goods are having an enormous and potentially devastating impact on the environment.

The WEEE and the problem of electronic waste has been creatively captured in a 7 metre high sculpture situated on London’s South Bank. The aptly named WEEE man is built from 3.3 tonnes of electrical goods, the average amount of electrical goods used by an individual during their lifetime.

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